Spilling the Beans on NB’s Best-Kept Travel Adventure

Stephany Peterson, Telegraph-Journal

Don’t tell me how educated you are; tell me how much you have travelled – Mehmet

The difference between that which separates those who travel and those who vacation is as far and wide as the shores of the oceans. The lure of vacation is understandable: to dig toes into the sandy shores of a tropical locale where the most strenuous decision is how many passes to make by the resort buffet; however, this is the dividing line between the blissful mindlessness of vacation, and the lively, gritty, sometimes uncomfortable, and endlessly rewarding, adventure of travel.

For the past several decades, the University of New Brunswick has been as a platform from which thousands of our region’s brightest jump into all corners of the world.  Experiencing the globe as a part of the prestigious travel study program deepens visiting another culture beyond its surface, and provides the discerning knack for how to become immersed into another world - as opposed to making a brief tourist pit stop for an obligatory background monument selfie.

The best-kept secret of the travel study is that it is not an adventure limited to undergraduates: anyone of our community can be considered for becoming an auditing member of this exclusive program. These typically three-week sessions are tailored by seasoned experts, whose theoretical knowledge of the subjects is paired with practical experience of decades of guiding individuals to push themselves to discover a new landscape, and in the process, learn about themselves. Under the guidance of experts from faculty of our university, streets of the city become classrooms; its maps used as textbooks. Fellow wanderlust travelers become companions, engaging in lively group discussions that make the history that surrounds leap to life. Capturing momentous occasions through the written word makes essay writing an experience itself.

“For nearly twenty-five years now I have watched the faces of students as they make their first climb up the Acropolis in Athens, or hiked the Venetian fortifications atop the Acrocorinth, or placed their feet on the starting line in the Stadium at Olympia,” says Dr. James Murray, professor in UNB’s department of classics. “There is really no substitute for the personal experience gained at the important sites of antiquity, and when we add to this the opportunity for students to learn about the modern culture we are visiting, we have an unbeatable combination.” 

Sharing in my best stage-whisper, the upcoming New York City program scheduled for May 2015 has met with such success, the program directors have heeded the community’s call and have made space available for a greater variety of individuals to participate. At the time of writing, an entire adult family just confirmed registration, which prompted me to spill the beans and give a few adventurous spirits out there inspiration to embark on this incredible journey.  Visit http://www.unb.ca/cel/programs/undergraduate/travel-study/newyork/index.html for application and details.

Courses will be led by professors of history, sociology, and political science, with focus on the Harlem Renaissance; Cinematic New York; and Empire and Resistance in New York City, respectively.  Enjoying a world city, one of the most culturally rich locations in the world, through interactive walking tours, on-site lectures, and behind-the-scenes access to monuments, galleries, museums, restaurants, pubs, and parks, you will take more than a bite out of the Big Apple – you will chew it to the core.

Excursion include:
•    the Empire State Building
•    the Cotton Club
•    the Lower East Side Tenement Museum
•    the Museum of the Moving Image
•    the National Jazz Museum in Harlem
•    Ground Zero
•    the Harlem Heritage Cultural Center
•    the Museum of American Finance
•    the Metropolitan Museum of Art
•    the Alexander Hamilton House
•    the Studio Museum in Harlem
•    the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
•    the Museum of Modern Art
and walking tours of Harlem, Wall Street, the South Bronx, Park Avenue, Times Square, and of the neighborhoods featured in the films of Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and Woody Allen.

Heed the advice of a wordsmith far more eloquent than I could ever aspire to be, and set sail for New York City this spring: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

To learn more about upcoming travel study programs or to apply, visit www.unb.ca/travelstudy.